WILMINGTON, Del. — DowDuPont, the new $130 billion agricultural-chemical conglomerate created by the merger of Dow Chemical Co. and DuPont, is reversing its just merged structure that formed three business spinoff units, reverting back to two entities.
The post-merger breakup plan was forced by an onslaught of demands by a team of four investor activist groups who pushed through objections to change DowDuPont’s structure and won a deal that forced the company to reshape itself again, dropping its original 22-month plan.
The reshuffling leaves intact the company’s dominant Dow AgroSciences division that has long been a business leader in the agricultural community with its wide range of seed products, and weed and insect fighters combined with DuPont’s Pioneer powerhouse as a separate unit. The change won’t hurt the division’s $14 billion in annual revenue.
The new move on Sept. 12, just 13 days after the merger was finalized, sparked a jump in DowDuPont’s shares by more than 3.5 percent, indicating shareholder support for the shift. The investor group included activists Trian Fund Management LP, Third Point LLC, Glenview Capital Management LLC and Jana Partners LLC.
Under the plan, the new DowDuPont shifts several units first headed into the materials science unit, which produced plastics and materials, now bumped into the specialty products business – propelling it into a larger business unit with sales topping $51 billion annually.
The reverse-breakup comes after a five-month review led by consultants at McKinsey & Co., which presented its proposed overview to 25 of the company’s top shareholders who supported just the two stand-alone divisions.
Dow’s Andrew Liveris is the executive chair of the new DowDuPont and DuPont’s Ed Breen is the company’s new CEO. Liveris is expected to retire next summer.
As reported by various media outlets Sept. 12, Breen said in a conference call with analysts that he’s leaving open the possibility of further breakups down the road for the specialty business, which is being encouraged by investors and analysts. When asked about a timetable of future splits, he said any new structure would be based on its customers.
“The changes we are making will enhance the competitive advantages and value creation potential of DowDuPont and ensure that the intended companies have the best possible foundation to drive long-term value,” Breen explained.
By the end of last week, DowDuPont was trading on the New York Stock Exchange as DWDP, up nearly $2.70 a share at $70 as a result of the reshuffling.
Several Wall Street analysts are reporting on the website MarketWatch that DWDP is the No. 1 stock to buy at the moment, with some predicting the stock could hit $80 a share in the coming months as a result of the company rebooting itself.
As previously announced, the agricultural company will be based in Wilmington, Del., with global business centers in Johnston, Iowa, and Indianapolis. The materials science and specialty products company will be based in Midland, Mich., retaining the “Dow” trademark brand.